Marxist feminism or petty moralism?

John Hollister bb05246 at
Sun Nov 6 17:45:41 MST 1994

> On Sun, 6 Nov 1994, Justin Schwartz wrote:

> > There's a difference between being the beneficiary of undeserved
> > advantages which you may not even want, as whites, males, and many (not
> > all) Americans are, are being a racist, a sexist, a homophobe, or an
> > imperialist oppressor. A lot of people on the left run these very distinct
> > things together, as Ben does here, and as a consequence unnecessarily get
> > people's backs up and alienate potential supporters.

Ben Attias:

> Obviously we are working from two distinct definitions of "racism,"
> "sexism," "homophobia" here.  To me these terms indicate not simply a
> state of mind that predisposes one to feel superior to members of other
> races, sexes, or sexualities.  If that is the definition of these things,
> then the terms have become literally useless for an analysis of society,

If you define these isms so broadly, they become useless for politics
or for anything other than competitive displays of self-righteousness.
As a gay man, I find it useful to recognize a difference between
straights who flaunt or go along with their het privilege - getting
married, raising families, embracing in public without fear of violence
etc., and those who actually threaten me with violence.

By conflating routine heterosexual arrogance (which I can match by being OUT),
and anti-gay violence and the systematic treatment of gays as lesser
human beings (which I count on the solidarity of the gay and lesbian
movement, and the conscientiousness of some straights to protect me
from), the movement against the latter is trivialized.

And this whole move to define the isms so loosely simply endangers the
credibility of movements for social change, and provokes the anti-PC
backlash that may endanger the more vulnerable sections of the population.

We need more of a left-wing anti-PC movement to salvage what we can of
movements for social change. I regret that I also used to assert
things like the following:

> From this definition we are all racist, and sexist, and
> heterosexist, because we live in a society which is and until we own up to
> that and take responsibility (rather than guilt or pride) for changing
> those social conditions we are simply perpetuating the exploitation.


John Hollister				 bb05246 at
"Honey, I'm more man than you'll ever be and more woman than you'll ever get"
					-traditional queen's retort


More information about the Marxism mailing list